X-51A WaveRider Test Flight Set For Next Week | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 09.29.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.29.14**
** Airborne 09.26.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.26.14 **
** Airborne 09.24.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.24.14 **

Fri, May 21, 2010

X-51A WaveRider Test Flight Set For Next Week

Only Hypersonic Test Flight Planned For This Fiscal Year

The X-51A WaveRider will make its first hypersonic flight test attempt from Edwards Air Force Base on Tuesday, May 25. The unmanned aerial vehicle will be released from a B-52 bomber off the southern California coast.

The X-51A is expected to fly autonomously for five minutes -- powered by a supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) motor -- accelerate to about Mach 6 and transmit large amounts of data to ground stations before it splashes down into the Pacific and breaks up, as planned. There are no plans to recover the flight test vehicle, one of four built.

"In those 300 seconds, we hope to learn more about hypersonic flight with a practical scramjet engine than all previous flight tests combined," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The longest previous hypersonic scramjet flight test, performed by a NASA X-43 in 2004, was faster, but lasted only about 10 seconds and used less logistically supportable hydrogen fuel.

The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with industry partners The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The May 25 attempt will be the only hypersonic flight attempt this fiscal year, a change from the original test plan, which was to fly once in December 2009 and three more times in 2010. A combination of factors, including high demand for flight-test and range assets such as the B-52, contributed to the pause.

"This is an experimental X-plane and it's a complicated test. We knew the original schedule was aggressive and we would need to be flexible," said Brink. "It's also expensive to keep a staff of engineers and support staff at the ready and then not be able to fly when supporting assets aren’t available. So we elected to make only one hypersonic try this spring and then pause for a few months to conserve funding."

Alex Lopez, Boeing vice president of Advanced Network & Space Systems, said the X-51A program will pave the way to hypersonic weapons and future access to space.

FMI: www.af.mil, www.boeing.com

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 09.29.14: Young Eagle Tragedy, Overdue Hoover Honors, Paperplane Record

Also: Low-Flying F16, UAVs For The Movie, Aerobatic Pilot Bails Out, Bombardier Safety Stand Down, MVP Takes On The World We are sad to report that a Young Eagle flight went down o>[...]

Airborne 09.29.14: Young Eagle Tragedy, Overdue Hoover Honors, Paperplane Record

Also: Low-Flying F16, UAVs For The Movie, Aerobatic Pilot Bails Out, Bombardier Safety Stand Down, MVP Takes On The World We are sad to report that a Young Eagle flight went down o>[...]

Airborne 09.26.14: A320neo First Flight, Aspen ESV Trial, Garmin Flies G5000

Also: Sea Lynx Grounding, AEA's Ric Peri On FAR 145, Union v Allegiant, Wingboarding--Anyone? Things went off as planned in Toulouse, France yesterday morning when the A320neo made>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (09.30.14)

DOT Rule for Passengers Traveling with Lithium Batteries The issue has come to the forefront as more people may soon begin traveling with small UAVs, most of which are powered by t>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (09.30.14): Filed En Route Delay

Any of the following preplanned delays at points/areas along the route of flight which require special flight plan filing and handling techniques.>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC